Almost 12 years ago, when she was just 5-years-old, Jazz Jennings told her parents that even though she was born in a boy's body, she knew that she is actually a girl. They embraced her identity and helped their daughter become one of the youngest people to ever publicly transition. Soon, Jennings was telling her story to the likes of Oprah and starring in her own reality show on TLC about what it's like to be a transgender teen.
In a new letter she wrote to her 5-year-old self — the self who knew she was a girl but hadn't yet begun her transition — Jennings looks back at what it was like to come out so young. She wrote the letter for Logo's New Now Next, which asked 40 noteworthy LGBTQ people to write themselves letters for a series called "Letter to Myself.'
"I know that so many people attempt to cloud the purity of your happiness with their tenacious hatred," she wrote. "I know that your eyes glisten with hope, yet they will still be denied by the intolerance of society."
Jennings writes about feeling excited and hopeful for her future, yet also facing hatred and doubt and bullying from people who believe that being transgender is wrong. It's hatred she faced as young as 5, and continues to face at 17-years-old.
Just a few months ago, Jennings was attacked online by fellow TLC star Derick Dillard, husband to Jill Duggar Dillard. He wrote in a tweet: "What an oxymoron... a 'reality' show which follows a non-reality. 'Transgender' is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it's ordained by God."
Despite facing hatred like this, Jennings continues to be a role model for the transgender community, and explains in her letter that being able to be a role model helps her get through tough moments.
"Continue to smile big and move forward in the direction of progress, for you will see change be brought upon this world—a change that you will help create," she wrote.
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